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EU (Withdrawal) Bill - Statement from Helen Jones MP

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12 Sep 2017
Helen Jones H&S

I have had a number of letters about the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, most of them generated from websites promoting opposing views.


Despite its name this bill does not decide whether or not we withdraw from the EU. That was done by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (known as the Lisbon Treaty).


What the bill purports to do is to translate EU Law into British law. However, the way it seeks to do this is very problematic.


The bill contains a whole host of what are called ‘Henry VIII clauses’ giving the government power to change legislation by regulations and by-passing proper parliamentary scrutiny. There is therefore a real risk that people’s rights at work, environmental protections and many others could be downgraded without scrutiny or a vote in the Commons chamber. Whatever this may be it is not parliamentary sovereignty. The government is also not allowing enough time for parliament to debate this important bill.


I therefore voted for Labour’s amendment which sets out our concerns and to voted against the government’s programme (timetable) motion. I did not vote against second reading of the bill as it is a vote on the principle of the bill and I am not opposed to the principle of translating EU Law into British Law. It is, however, such a dreadful bill that I cannot vote for it.


I abstained at second reading and will support amendments designed to improve the bill as it goes through its committee stage. If the government does not accept these amendments and they are not passed then I shall vote against giving the bill a third reading when it reaches that stage.

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